RIP Bogdanoffs, Inspiration for Crypto Memes

Igor and Grichka, the highly recognizable twin science TV double-act, passed away recently due to complications related to COVID-19.

AccessTimeIconJan 4, 2022 at 8:26 p.m. UTCUpdated Jan 4, 2022 at 10:50 p.m. UTCLayer 2
AccessTimeIconJan 4, 2022 at 8:26 p.m. UTCUpdated Jan 4, 2022 at 10:50 p.m. UTCLayer 2

Daniel Kuhn is a features reporter and assistant opinion editor for CoinDesk's Layer 2. He owns BTC and ETH.

Who will dump my bags now? Yesterday, it was reported that Igor Bogdanoff, twin of Grichka, passed away due to complications of the coronavirus, six days after his brother’s untimely death of the same disease. The two were known for their flamboyance, outlandish scientific theories and mountainous cheekbones, and were, to some extent, the face of the cryptocurrency day trader.

Descendents of European nobility and preeminent figures of popular science, the twins have been commemorated in countless memes. It was often said Igor and Grichka were behind the wild price fluctuations in token markets – somehow always taking the opposite side of your trade.

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“In peace and love, surrounded by his children and his family, Igor Bogdanoff left for the light on Monday January 3, 2022,” the Bogdanoff estate said, as reported by The Sun. “RIP Grichka Bogdanoff, no wonder everything is dumping,” one Twitter user wrote, referencing the popular in-joke among traders.

It’s a sad day for crypto. The Bogdanoffs were part of the crypto family since at least 2017, coming to particular prominence in the heady days of the initial coin offering rally. Known across the internet for their atypical look – their nearly identical brunette quaffs, square jaws and faces that appeared to be Botoxed or plastic (or both) – crypto traders made them into mythical figures.

In one meme, Grichka, iPhone to his chiseled face, tells some magisterial figure who can move crypto prices to “pump” or “dump” (sometimes “pomp” or “domp”) the market. In 2018, YouTuber Bizonacci teased the joke into a widely shared, minute-long video, “He Bought,” of a wojack (those black-lined drawings of the average internet user) driven into madness by the countertrading Bogdanoffs.

You never want to take any meme too seriously, but if there’s a deeper meaning here, it might be the admission that crypto is fundamentally speculative. It might be a reference to massive bagholders – early investors, project insiders – with outsized influence on crypto markets. It’s self-referential, a little mean-spirited, but all in good fun.

Often, it seemed like the Bogdanoffs were trolls themselves. They were at least familiar with their stature as memes. Last July, the twins told French TV show “Non Stop People,” the image of Grichka was downloaded more than “1.3 billion times” and put in “all blockchains between 2010-2012.” In that same interview, the twins claimed to have been former colleagues of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous figure often credited with developing Bitcoin, and even said they contributed to the network’s development.

“It is probably Nakamoto who made [the photo] circulate,” Igor Bogdanoff said, as reported by Decrypt.

The Bogdanoffs’ public personas have always bordered on the absurd. The New York Times described their role as co-hosts of “Temps X,” the French science fiction TV show that launched their media careers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as “science clowns.” In the ‘90s, they fought (and settled) plagiarism claims concerning their book ‘’God and Science.” At the turn of the century, they published several scientific articles that put forward a theory of what happened before and during the birth of the universe, which later became the center of “the Bogdanov affair.” Recently, they were accused of swindling a bipolar millionaire.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the twin mathematical physicists and movie producers are tethered to the crypto industry. They walked the line between fake and real science, between absurdity and self-knowledge. On the surface, they were a little grotesque, though they said they enjoyed looking like “aliens.” They denied having plastic surgery, but they could have very well been in on the joke.

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Daniel Kuhn is a features reporter and assistant opinion editor for CoinDesk's Layer 2. He owns BTC and ETH.

Daniel Kuhn is a features reporter and assistant opinion editor for CoinDesk's Layer 2. He owns BTC and ETH.